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Kentucky Labor Secretary Hoping Apprentice Program Leads to More, Better Workers

Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Governor Matt Bevin’s administration is counting on a growing apprenticeship program to help fill Kentucky’s future workforce needs.

More than 1,100 Kentucky employers are currently partnering with the state to provide apprenticeship opportunities. Apprenticeships allow high school upperclassmen and those who have a GED to gain on-the-job training tailored to a company’s needs.

Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey is touring the state in an effort to encourage more companies and schools to participate in the effort. He says a wide variety of skills can be learned through the program.

“When we talk about the skills, and when we talk about the apprenticeships, we're not only talking about construction--road construction, building construction,” Ramsey said in Bowling Green Wednesday. “We're talking about I.T.--we're apprenticing that, as well. We're talking about health care."

Ramsey says those learning blue-collar skills in the apprenticeship program could help build the next generation of roads and bridges in the commonwealth.

He says when it comes time to replace the state’s aging infrastructure, a lot of help will be needed.

“These are things that we’re going to start with schematics on—you know, drawings, renderings. But after that, somebody has to go out and lift a hammer. And so again, these are opportunities where we believe that our Kentuckians can take care of not only themselves, but for their families, as well.”

The recent two-year budget passed by the state legislature contained $500,000 for the apprenticeship program.

The federal government has given the state a $200,000 grant.

Ramsey says Kentucky has a chance to be viewed as a national leader in expanding apprenticeship opportunities.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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